Monday, January 19, 2009

Ills of a Golden Age (and the Law of Unintended Consequences)

Classic example of a problem which could happen only in a Golden Age:
Hailed almost universally on its passage last year--it passed the Senate 89 to three and the House by 424 to one, with Ron Paul the lone dissenter--CPSIA is now shaping up as a calamity for businesses and an epic failure of regulation, threatening to wipe out tens of thousands of small makers of children's items from coast to coast, and taking a particular toll on the handcrafted and creative, the small-production-run and sideline at-home business, not to mention struggling retailers. How could this have happened? [snip]
The first thing to note is that we're not just talking about toys here. With few exceptions, the law covers all products intended primarily for children under 12. That includes clothing, fabric and textile goods of all kinds: hats, shoes, diapers, hair bands, sports pennants, Scouting patches, local school-logo gear and so on.

And paper goods: books, flash cards, board games, baseball cards, kits for home schoolers, party supplies and the like. And sporting equipment, outdoor gear, bikes, backpacks and telescopes. And furnishings for kids' rooms. [snip]

So a disabled kid has goods made special for them by a third party and the testing can run $100,000 for an item depending on the number of components. We really have a lot of geniuses in our Federal government. And what about R&D? A computer board I once made was put into a wheel chair for a young lady to help her operate the wheel chair by blowing puffs of air. I sold the board for $50. How in the heck could I afford $100,000 of testing for a production run that amounted to about 1,000 pieces if even one of those boards was incorporated in a device for a handicapped child? And horror of horrors, the device used lead based solder.
Only a very rich civilization can afford to spend so much effort on (attempting to ensure) child safety. Even if there's another side to this story, even if it saves a hundred lives, nobody can deny that this is very expensive legislation.

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

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